Oscar Wilde

(1854-1900 / Dublin / Ireland)

The Harlot's House


We caught the tread of dancing feet,
We loitered down the moonlit street,
And stopped beneath the harlot's house.

Inside, above the din and fray,
We heard the loud musicians play
The "Treues Liebes Herz" of Strauss.

Like strange mechanical grotesques,
Making fantastic arabesques,
The shadows raced across the blind.

We watched the ghostly dancers spin
To sound of horn and violin,
Like black leaves wheeling in the wind.

Like wire-pulled automatons,
Slim silhouetted skeletons
Went sidling through the slow quadrille.

They took each other by the hand,
And danced a stately saraband;
Their laughter echoed thin and shrill.

Sometimes a clockwork puppet pressed
A phantom lover to her breast,
Sometimes they seemed to try to sing.

Sometimes a horrible marionette
Came out, and smaoked its cigarette
Upon the steps like a live thing.

Then, turning to my love, I said,
"The dead are dancing with the dead,
The dust is whirling with the dust."

But she--she heard the violin,
And left my side, and entered in:
Love passed into the house of lust.

Then suddenly the tune went false,
The shadows wearied of the waltz,
The shadows ceased to wheel and whirl.

And down the long and silent street,
The dawn, with silver-sandalled feet,
Crept like a frightened girl.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Form:


Do you like this poem?
2 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: sometimes, lust, house, laughter, girl, silver, wind, dance

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Harlot's House by Oscar Wilde )

Enter the verification code :

Read all 1 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. If, Rudyard Kipling
  4. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  5. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  6. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  7. Silent Noon, Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  8. As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes
  9. Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
  10. Tonight I can write the saddest lines, Pablo Neruda

Poem of the Day

poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass, --
The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:
Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. Lime-trees, Dr John Celes
  2. South Bronx, Robert Ronnow
  3. The Slow Dimension, Sare Sayidi
  4. Polar Bear Mugs Wino, Robert Ronnow
  5. Destiny! ! !, Amitava Sur
  6. Valentino's Victory Lap, Charles Hancock
  7. A Best friend to someone like me, Yselle Lucas
  8. Is it stress, Robert Ronnow
  9. Communicating the Bird, Robert Ronnow
  10. Chinese Sonnets, Robert Ronnow
[Hata Bildir]